Since the publication of Luis González’ Invitación a la microhistoria, scholars have explored the many Mexicos that exist between the Rio Grande and Guatemala. Of these investigations none offered such exciting prospects for historians of the twentieth century as the Seminar on Peasant Societies sponsored by the Centro de Investigaciones Superiores del Instituto de Antropología e Historia. This undertaking planned a detailed investigation of Morelos—promising the kind of evaluation of Zapata country that John Womack has made of Zapata.
The seminar’s first volume, Los campesinos de la tierra de Zapata, justified expectations. Now Volume II offers three more excellent studies: Alfonso Concuera Garza’s “Dominio y dependencia del campesino temporalero,” Jorge Alonso’s “De la disolución de la hacienda a la consolidación del neolatifundio,” and Roberto Melville’s “Una familia campesina y el cultivo de la cebolla para exportación.”
Concuera Garza studied the campesinos of San Gabriel Amacuitlapilco, following the agricultural cycle that begins with the search for seeds or capital to buy them. This essay, especially the discussion of moneylenders, is superb. Jorge Alonso has written a complementary essay to Laura Helguera’s study of the Tenango ejido in Volume I. Alonso examined the efforts to reconsolidate the hacienda after its division in 1938. He provides a fascinating account of the changes in ownership that resulted in the creation of a modern agribusiness and the changing relationships between land owners and neighboring ejidatarios. The Toledano family’s production of onions for export to the United States is the subject of Roberto Melville’s essay. He made a thorough analysis of this family as a labor unit, the export company’s representative in Morelos, and the problems of the international market.
These are excellent case studies. As other volumes appear, the seminar will provide evidence on the meaning of the Mexican Revolution for the campesinos in Morelos and, by implication, in Mexico.